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Whitetail opens for season

November 30, 1999|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

MERCERSBURG, PA.

The Whitetail Resort officially opened Saturday and celebrated with a banner announcing its first chairlift of the season.

The riders on the first chairlift got to ride through the banner.

Although the resort opened at 8:30 a.m., a line had begun to form at 7 a.m., according to Matt See, marketing coordinator of Whitetail Resort.

"This is one of the best opening-day conditions we've had in a while," See said. "Everything seems to be going great."

More than 500 people were expected on opening day, according to Don MacAskill, the resort's president.

Whitetail has 19 skiing/snowboarding trails, eight of which were open Saturday. The eight trails open were intermediate and beginner trails.

"We concentrate our snowmaking effort when we first open," See said as to why only eight trails were open Saturday. "It's easier to concentrate on one section of the mountain."

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The resort typically opens the second or third weekend of December, but has opened as early as the day after Thanksgiving, See said. Whitetail was able to open Saturday because of favorable snow-making conditions last week.

"The first snowgun went off on Monday, 24 hours a day until Friday afternoon," MacAskill said. "We really rely on snow-making rather than natural snow."

What also helped was the nearly 5 inches of snow that blanketed the area Wednesday. Now the resort is covered in more than two feet of snow, See said.

Ideal temperatures for snow-making are 32 degrees or below, MacAskill said.

"The colder it gets, the more snow the guns can produce," MacAskill said.

Kim Villa traveled from Manassas, Va., to ski at the Whitetail Resort. She said the trails were a little soft because of "spring-like conditions."

"I love to ski," said Villa, who is in her third year of skiing. "This is where I learned."

Villa described herself as an advance-intermediate skier and said that the intermediate and beginner trails that were open were good practice for her.

"The snow conditions today are really good practice," Villa said. "Then you'll be really good when the snow is crisp."

Some of the trials Villa skied included Velvet, Snow Park and Angel Drop. She described Velvet as a beginner trail that is a good way to get a feel for your skis. Villa said Snow Park was a "more cruising beginner type of hill." Angel Drop was more vertical, but had very soft snow, Villa said.

Villa got to the resort at 8 a.m. and planned to stay the whole day.

John Thomas of Alexandra, Va., was at the Whitetail Resort because he loves to ski and his 10-year-old son is on Whitetail's ski team.

"It's a great little mountain," Thomas said. "Best mountain within three hours of Washington, D.C."

Thomas, who has been skiing for about 32 years, said he skied all the slopes except the very beginner ones.

"Skiing changes your attitude about winter," Thomas said. "Now I get through the beach season to go skiing."

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